Ron Upshaw: Time to let KeyArena dieon September 21, 2012 @ 6:41 am (Updated: 9:02 am - 9/21/12 )
KIRO's Ron Upshaw says it's time to blow up KeyArena and much of Seattle Center and replace it with something more iconic and contemporary.(AP image)
While many people are worrying about the future of KeyArena and Seattle Center as the city looks to build a new sports arena, KIRO host Ron Upshaw says it's time to blow up the building and much of its surroundings and start over.
"We don't need KeyArena. We don't need the fountain. I get that people are nostalgic about the fountain. The fountain's from 1962. Who cares about the fountain?" says Upshaw in an emotional rant on The Ron and Don Show.
Upshaw calls KeyArena an outdated building that has outlived its usefulness, and says it's understandable that many major events will move to a new Seattle arena as soon as it opens.
"You already lose concerts because nobody wants to go there. It's a graveyard. I've been to a Seattle college basketball game there. There are nine people there."
Investor Chris Hansen has pledged $7 million to fund a study on the future of KeyArena, with $5 million going to the Seattle Storm basketball team.
But Upshaw argues the Key and many of the surroundings at Seattle Center should simply be replaced with new offerings.
"We have 74 acres where you could make this into the crown jewel of the city," he says. "We need to create a space that is iconic. When people come to visit Seattle, it's an afterthought. Nobody says 'Oh let's go to Seattle Center.'"
Upshaw points to Chicago's Miracle Mile of shops, restaurants and other development as an example of what Seattle Center could become, and credits Chicago's former mayor Richard Daley with having the political will to force projects through without lengthy deliberations common in our area.
"Mayor Daley just said, 'Anything that I do is going to be disputed so I'm just going to think big, I'm going to be bold and I'm going to go in there and have an agenda and get it done and the critics be damned.'"
Upshaw does praise the Space Needle, EMP, and Opera House at Seattle Center, but argues the rest of the campus should be completely overhauled.
"Do you know how valuable that real estate is? Let's get on the same page and do something ambitious, let's do something that we can be proud of, let's do something that's a 'must see' when people get here. And I don't know all the ingredients to that, but it's certainly not what we have now," Upshaw says.
"Quit looking back, it's done. That thing had a 40 year run and it was great."
The Seattle Center Advisory Commission tells The Seattle Times getting a new arena would cast doubt on the existing business plan, which has suffered since the Sonics left. It points to lower Queen Anne businesses that rely on big musical acts like Madonna.
The Seattle City Council will vote Monday on the revised arena agreement with investor Chris Hansen.
By JOSH KERNS, MyNorthwest.com Reporter
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